The Korean battery firm said it has invested 25 billion won ($21 million) in its carbon nanotube plant located in Yeosu city to initially produce around 100 tons this year and then 400 tons every year from 2018.
Carbon nanotube, a tube-shaped material made of carbon, is used for secondary batteries, airplane bodies, car parts and semiconductors. It has a high level of electric conductivity like that of copper and heat conductivity comparable to diamonds, and it is 100 times stronger than steel, the company explained.
Currently, Chinese firm SUSN Sinotech is the largest carbon nanotube maker with the production of 600 tons, followed by the US firm C-Nano producing 500 tons and Japanese company Showa Denko which produces 500 tons. Belgian firm Nanocyl and French company Arkema are each producing 400 tons.
|LG Chem’s carbon nanotube plant located in Yeosu city (LG Chem)|
LG Chem said it has secured around 250 patents related to developing the materials including conductive plastic for vehicles, light-weight high-stiffness plastic and aluminum mixed with carbon nanotube for improving heat and electricity conductivity.
“We will continue to heavily invest in research and development on promising new materials as we are not able to lead the increasingly competitive global market simply with general-purpose products -- such as polyvinyl chloride and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene,” said Sohn Ok-dong, chief of LG Chem’s basic material business unit.
The Korean battery maker also said it is considering building additional facilities in 2019 as the need for the material is expected to continue to rise. It said it will jump into the North American, European and Chinese market with carbon nanotube without specifying the names of clients.
According to Japanese Yano Research Institute, the global carbon nanotube market is predicted to reach 1,335 tons in 2020 from 824 tons in 2016 with an average annual rise of more than 10 percent.
By Shin Ji-hye (firstname.lastname@example.org)